Before we planted the Junction Church, I had a dream of a community where incredible musicianship would be provoked and amazing songs would be produced for the glory of God. You see, I seriously reckon that church ought to be the most brilliantly creative community in town. So I guess part of the reason for this blog is to do some provoking!
For me, music is a passion. Growing up in Belfast, I studied classical piano at the school of music. This was one of the greatest institutions in the city, inspiring creativity during the weary days of ‘the troubles’. It wasn’t easy to get into it (which gave it a certain prestige) – and the standard of teaching was absolutely first rate. Whilst there, I went on to develop a keen interest in jazz piano, and that fascination has never gone away. I love music today more than ever. When it’s bad and ill-disciplined, I’m appalled by it. When it’s really good, I SO appreciate it!
Music is an art that stirs the heart, creates moments and gives expression to emotion that goes beyond words. In a sense, it’s a universal language. Imagine your favourite movie without the sound track? Wouldn’t be the same, would it? That’s the power of music – it changes the atmosphere.
In the Psalms, King David encouraged great musicianship. For example, in Psalm 33:3, he says ‘Sing a new song and play skillfully‘. This pretty much sums up my dream for music at the Junction Church.
Here are 10 keys (excuse the pun) for great musicianship:
1) Take interest – this stems from having passion, which is the child of inspiration.
2) Practice much – if this isn’t happening, then the musicianship will never be taken seriously.
3) Be disciplined – learn how to patiently flow with music rather than trying to force it to happen.
4) Listen to the vibe – this is especially important when playing as part of a team. Listening creates great music.
5) Be selfless – the greatest musicians understand the power of subtlety and not drawing attention to themselves.
6) Develop your craft – for music to be performed with skillful ease, it needs to be carefully crafted behind the scenes. That takes W.O.R.K.
7) Challenge yourself – learn to play proficiently in every key, especially the more uncomfortable ones.
8) Be teachable – every musician has something new to learn.
9) Master one instrument – stop trying to be a multi-instrumentalist. Be excellent at one instead of average at many.
10) Do it for God’s glory – let this always motivate the why behind the what.